When The History Channel Is A Tool


Great content shows up on the History Channel and it deserves, usually, all the praise it can collect. In its new JFK miniseries, however, it deserves a sleaze award, and worse.

More and more media projects on JFK and his death are heating up in development. Among them, hopefully buried but I doubt it, is a Tom Hanks HBO deal based on the Vince Bugliosi book, directly promoting the CIA version of the lone nut assassin. Now arriving, equally disappointing and offensive, is the drivel passed off as history by the History Channel’s new miniseries. On the front page of the Calendar Section of the LATimes this week, Patrick Goldstein wrote the “Storm Over JFK Series” as a liberal vs. conservative thing, like politics as usual, focusing on producer Joel Surnow as Rush Limbaugh’s friend and missing the story entirely.

It’s a sleazy sex in the White House piece, as Goldstein says, but with the subtext of trivializing the murder victim here. This JFK series follows a womanizer bad guy, not a hero rethinking the Cold War, as if we shouldn’t care so much about his death, or about closing with justice this darkest chapter in American history.

Disgusting. Not to be prudish about Presidential sex. As Tiger Woods explained to us all last week, ‘on the side’ has been the entitlement of famous and powerful men forever, and well documented last century in the biographies of our Presidents Harding, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, LBJ, Clinton and on and on. No apologies excuse this lowlife behavior, but this latest JFK sleaze series is most disgusting because it’s no different than the same public manipulation we’ve seen over the last 47 years from the world’s best propagandists in and around the CIA.

Kicked into gear to overwhelm all real investigation, the misinformation campaign around JFK’s killing was planned by the best. Soon after the murder, when CIA Director McCone and Deputy Director Richard Helms testified before the Warren Commission, Helms testified under oath on behalf of the Agency that a thorough examination had revealed that there “was no material in the Central Intelligence Agency, either in the records or in the mind of any of the individuals, that there was any contact had or even contemplated with Lee Harvey Oswald.” A flat out lie accepted as gospel. See John Newman, Oswald and the CIA (2008) (filling 600 pages with the CIA’s direct relationship with Oswald). It is small comfort that Helms was convicted of perjury in 1977 for lying to Congress on something else—as his CIA friends paid the fine, he took the conviction to his grave as a “badge of honor.”

When columnist Dorothy Kilgallen closed in on sources with guilty knowledge in the aftermath of the 1963 assassination, there were only 3 networks, a few news magazines of note, and Kilgallen was only one reporter, very well-known but then very well murdered herself. Where then there was one, there now are thousands. As vigilant, true patriots still attack and catalogue hundreds of thousands of documents finally released by the Assassinations Review Board, relentless researchers preserve testimony with icams and handhelds and press ahead for CIA files that remain withheld. As organized evidence drills dead the lies sold to the disgraced Warren Commission, dedicated investigators continue to cross-check information online in ways never foreseen by the killers. As powerful computers enhance the eyes and ears and evidence of that day in Dealey Plaza, so too the misinformation has evolved to keep pace.

From the lone nut assassin nonsense, to the slandering of ‘crazy conspiracy theorists,’ to the fiction that there are ‘two sides’ to the story, to the later misdirection that ‘we’ll never know,’ or it’s just ‘the mob,’ we see the latest disservice by the History Channel…Let’s focus on adultery and why should we care about the death of a philandering lying cheater?

Why we should care? We should care because the men who aided and abetted and covered up the murder of the President of the United States have undermined American justice more than a million OJ Simpsons ever could. We should care because some of those powerful men are still living and breathing easy and free and getting away with murder. We should care because it’s still news: Justifiable targeted killing by CIA drones in the name of national security is debated in the headlines as much today as ever.

Yes, we are going to see more and more JFK productions, including some that tell an honest story, because we are getting closer to a universal truth that should be and will be shouted by patriots, liberals and conservatives alike: Men with guilty knowledge on the payroll or dole of the CIA aided and abetted the murder of our President, before, during and afterward, in the name of national security. Period. Real history now judges Helms’ badge of honor as a tragic and detestable shame.

As evidence of this truth has piled up beyond a reasonable doubt, whether Oswald was a CIA drone of the 60’s or, as he said, just a patsy, is far less interesting than what we are going to do about it now.

And please don’t watch this crummy History Channel series. Read instead JFK and The Unspeakable by James Douglass, or Joan Mellon’s Farewell to Justice, and pass it on.

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One Comment

  • March 2, 2010 | Permalink |

    The History Channel always has the best programming…it’s a shame not more people watch it

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